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Public Call for Cleaner, Healthier Internet
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Chief executives from China's overseas-listed Internet firms and sector experts met at a seminar in Hainan last Saturday to discuss issues concerning the smooth and healthy growth of the country's Internet business.

Experts and sector representatives expressed the hope that the government would improve the legal framework to better guide its progressive growth. They said that some self-governing rules by the Internet firms on forbidding porn and illegal information have been well-received by the public.

Li Jiaming, director general of China Reporting Center of Illegal and Unhealthy Information, said his department has received more than 240,000 reports from the public complaining about illicit or irregular Internet-related content and acts, since its launch in June 2004. Of those complaints, 127,010 or 68.2 percent reported in 2005 are porn related. The reporting center also received thousands of letters, the majority of which were from parents, teachers and students. People from all walks of life expressed their support for the work of the reporting center.

Li said many people expressed in their letters extreme concerns about the pernicious effects of porn and illegal websites on the young and called for harsh punitive actions against offenders. Some parents are so gravely worried about the influence of such websites on their children that many resorted to writing "Please help save our children!"in their letters.

He cited one letter from a mother in Taiyuan City, Shanxi Province, which read: "I strongly support the government's regulating of the Internet. If the government didn't deal with it, the Internet would be flooded with harmful information and no parent would want that."

In their letters, many people expressed their indignation that some websites work solely for profits, while ignoring their social responsibilities. A man surnamed Zhan from Beijing's Dongcheng District said he would not sit idle while seeing pernicious information on the internet "ruining our young generation".

Li cautioned about the long and hard road to achieving a clean and healthy cyberspace due to the complex nature of the Internet business.

( February 28, 2006)

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